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Controversy for the Sake of an Election

October 19, 2008

                                                                                                                       The writing prompt this week

on the Island is Controversy.



America is the land of the free, the home of the brave, and the nation of controversy.  It is not surprising that along with freedom comes controversy.  After all, the embodiment of freedom is not only the right to have a different opinion, but the right to express that opinion. Many an election has been won and lost on a candidate’s stance on one controversial issue or another, and our approaching presidential election is a prime example.  I believe the exploitation of controversy in our elections has taken America from being the home of the brave to the home of opportunists seeking election.

To be brave is to show courage when faced with danger, difficulty, and I believe, controversy.  It is not courageous to exploit the heart wrenching abortion issue, which both of our presidential hopefuls have done.  Senator McCain hopes his campaign ads of the horrors of late term abortions will provoke the smallest sense of decency in a voter to cast their ballot for him, while Senator Obama hopes his campaign ads of losing the right to have an abortion if a woman is raped or facing personal danger to her health will instill even the smallest sense of fear of losing a freedom in a voter to gain his or her vote. Yes, both candidates are exploiting the abortion issue, as have every candidate since the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade. This court ruling has divided our country and has paved the way for many politicians to exploit that division.

Instead of hearing the personal stance on abortion from our presidential candidates, I would rather see either of them stand up and say our Supreme Court overstepped its boundaries as governed by our Constitution.  Our forefathers carefully drafted the governing document of our country to be strong enough meet the needs of our nation while being flexible enough to guarantee the individual rights of its citizens. Thus, three branches of government were created to ensure both.  The Executive Branch is governed by the President and his or her purpose is to enforce the laws of our country.  The Legislative Branch is governed by Congress, who are state elected members of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Their purpose is to make the laws of our country. The Judicial Branch consists of the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts.  Their purpose is to hear cases that challenge or require interpretation of legislation passed by state and federal government.

Until Roe vs. Wade, the legality of abortion along with any limitations was governed by individual state laws. Our Congress never passed a federal law either allowing or disallowing abortion because it believed the issue was a state matter. The abortion law of Texas in 1973 disallowed abortion except on medical advice for the purpose of saving a mother’s life.  The Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, which began as a court case in Texas disputing its abortion law, legalized abortion across the United States, thus it became a law making branch of our government instead of the law interpreting branch as designed by the United States Constitution.  The Supreme Court did not act to interpret the Texas abortion law, but overruled the law and made one of its own, for our entire nation. I fault both President Richard Nixon and members of Congress in 1973 for not immediately denouncing the Supreme Court’s ruling based on the fact that it had overstepped its boundaries.  A Texas Federal Court had ruled the Texas abortion law had been justly applied. The Texas Federal Court did not assume the duty of deciding whether abortion should be legal or not, but rather performed its obligation as assigned by the Constitution.  It was also not the Supreme Court’s obligation to decide to legality of abortion, but whether a state’s Federal Court had equally and justly applied a state law.

Being an undecided voter in this presidential election, I am fed up with both candidates exploiting the abortion controversy.  Instead of broadening the separation which the issue of abortion has created in our country, I believe a President should seek to end the controversy once and for all. How brave it would be to have a candidate promise to end the abortion controversy by stating he would petition Congress to denounce Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade and either put the issue of abortion back into the hands of each state, or make a federal law on the issue of abortion the old fashioned way, by the Constitutional powers vested in the Legislative Branch of our government not the Judicial.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. October 19, 2008 11:21 am

    Now THAT would take some guts. But whoever did it, they would have my vote.

  2. October 19, 2008 2:08 pm

    Enjoyed the read!

  3. October 19, 2008 3:28 pm

    Very intelligent write, a good read. Some simple issues become complicated and blown out of proportion in the hands of politicians who get every opportunity to be in the headlines and the front page. Ordinary citizens, sensible writers like you, could explain it to them in such a way that common men would understand. So they could go to major issues that they are elected for to resolve and give much attention. I mean abortion to be decided by a would be president? Next issue please.

    I wish well.

    ~ Jeques

  4. October 20, 2008 4:18 am

    Your grasp of your presentation was most impressive… clearly something in which you’ve invested much thought.

  5. October 20, 2008 8:01 am

    A very well-considered argument. I fear that no candidate either now or in the future will have the courage to make that decision. It would be a revelation if one of them did.

  6. October 20, 2008 6:57 pm

    Point made very comprehensively.

  7. October 21, 2008 1:30 pm

    I’m going to have to disagree with your eloquent presentation of the abortion controversy.

    The main crux seems to be that you consider abortion to be only a technical procedure.

    If so, then the argument you laid out is largely true. In general, medical decisions are largely delegated to the states. Each states establishes their own protocols for accreditation, appropriate procedures, and other technical errata.

    Any federal action (legislative or judicial) on medical procedures would normally violate the states’ rights.

    However, in Roe v. Wade the Supreme Court chose not to recognize abortion as only a technical procedure but as a reproductive right stemming from other privacy rights. On the interpretation of rights, the court’s power is at its highest and its word is final.

    Your opinion may differ on whether abortion constitutes a right or stems from the greater domain of privacy rights (which also ended anti-miscegenation, anti-sodomy, and forced public school attendance laws). But on the issue of rights, the court is well within its jurisdiction to act.

    Furthermore, any attempt to coordinate federal legislation would likely flounder on the federal vs. state system of medicine currently implemented.

  8. October 21, 2008 3:32 pm

    I’m visiting you from Writer’s Island. It was interesting to read your thoughts. As an undecided voter I hope you do make it to the polls this year since the election hinges more on you than very entrenched voters like me.

  9. October 21, 2008 5:58 pm

    Well made point and a controversial subject.

  10. October 24, 2008 4:31 am

    I think politics is so sanitised nowadays that ‘courage’ is a foreign word.

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